These are the choice years, when we’ll finally have the time and freedom to do all those things on the bucket list. But life after we stop working can also mean having to live on less income than before, so we’ll have some choices to make there, too. Government help is available – including New Zealand Superannuation (NZ Super) – and there are other choices that we can make to have our money flowing when we pull back from work.
Going into retirement doesn’t mean we stop earning income. From the age of 65 most New Zealand residents receive NZ Super every fortnight. Income can also come from savings, paid work or business activity.
Depending on your personal situation you might qualify for extra help from the government on top of NZ Super. This could include help with ongoing health and medical costs (Disability Allowance) and housing costs (Accommodation Supplement).
You may also qualify for other assistance – for example, if you face an emergency situation, or if you need help with essential costs.
For more information:
Everyone can benefit from having a budget – a plan of what money you expect to receive and how you expect to spend it. A budget is one of your best tools for managing your money, whatever your age.
Need help making a budget? Find a local financial capability (budgeting) service in the Family Service Directory. Their services are free and confidential.
The SuperGold Card is a discounts and concessions card available free to all New Zealanders who are aged 65 years or over, and those under 65 years receiving NZ Super (as a non-qualifying spouse or partner) or the Veteran’s Pension. Using it regularly can help save money on day-to-day expenses.
The SuperGold website has up-to-date listings of all discounts available with the card.
For more information:
A Community Services Card can help with the cost of healthcare. If you qualify, you’ll pay less on some health services and prescriptions.
If you're eligible for a Community Services Card, this will be indicated on the back of your SuperGold Card.
For more information or to apply for a Community Services Card:
Later in retirement, you may have to rethink where you want to live. One option is to move to a retirement village; of course there are other choices.
You could choose to:
Take time to make these kinds of decisions – you need to think about what you need to live a good life when older. If you’re moving house, you need to be sure to consider the costs of moving – legal fees, real estate agent fees and the move itself.
Moving into a retirement village is different from buying a house. The financial arrangements are more complex and villages vary in their accommodation and facilities, services, support and care, legal and financial structures, philosophy and management.
A decision to move into a village is important as it has long-term personal and financial consequences.
The most common form of legal title with retirement villages is a ‘licence to occupy’. This gives residents the right to live in the unit but they don’t own the actual unit – often this means it’s not possible to borrow against the unit. In many cases, residents do not share in any capital gain when they leave or transfer within the village.
Thinking about residential care? The first stage is to have a needs assessment – this applies even if you're in a public hospital.
The needs assessment will also indicate whether you e may be eligible to apply for a Residential Care Subsidy. If you apply and qualify, the subsidy and most of your NZ Super will be used to pay for your care, leaving just a small amount of personal money to spend.
For more information:
It’s good to know that the things we’ve worked hard for during our life are protected.
You may need to review your insurances once retired. You also need to know your financial affairs will be handled as you would like if you become unable to make decisions
People usually set up trusts so they no longer legally own their house or other assets, but can continue to use and enjoy them as ‘beneficiaries’ of the trust. The most common types of trusts used by retirees are family trusts and funeral trusts.
Family trusts involve the sale to a trust of your house and perhaps other assets. Family trusts can be complex and time consuming to administer. It costs money to set them up and there are ongoing legal and accounting fees.
Prepaid funeral trusts are a way to pay funeral expenses in advance. Funeral trusts worth up to $10,000 are not considered to be assets when Senior Services is assessing eligibility for a Residential Care Subsidy.
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Great-grandparents Charmaine and Hamish McNeilage enjoy a contented life in the Wairarapa, where they live on $617 a week from NZ Super.
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Wellingtonian Duncan McDonald retired some years ago and often jokes he needs to go back to full-time work to get some spare time back.